Politics news: Lobby briefing - Danny Alexander, Lib Dem spokesman for work and pensions

What do you make of the sector's current popularity?

It is both welcome and long overdue. But it is also good to see the two old parties getting over their rigid 'public versus private' debate on public services, which has excluded other approaches.

Is it just a phase?

I hope not, but both Labour and the Conservatives need to do more to convince us. The voluntary sector needs sustained commitment from government, with contracts that are long and flexible enough to allow voluntary bodies to invest properly in the services they provide.

What do you think of the public services agenda?

The Government needs to be doing it for the right reasons. If it sees it as a chance to reform public services on the cheap, it will fail. But if it is prepared to support voluntary sector involvement with the necessary investment, it will find a great deal of talent and expertise waiting to be tapped.

What do the Lib Dems have to offer?

We are willing to make a sustained commitment to voluntary organisations and allow them the freedom they need to innovate.

The most important resource for the sector is the people who give their time. Many more are interested in doing voluntary work, and we want to look at removing the barriers to their involvement - be it benefit regulations, employment law or health and safety rules.

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